According to Professor Chris Toumazou, CEO of Toumaz, "Establishing Toumaz Microsystems is the next logical step for us as is building a subsidiary for our radio-IC chip development with investment and support from a strategic partner, the Imagination Technologies Group."

Abingdon, England: Low-power wireless-communications company, Toumaz, has set up a new fabless subsidiary called Toumaz Microsystems. This move comes after the firm secured both investment and support from Imagination Technologies Groupa strategic partner in the new business. Going forward, Toumaz will be split into two businesses: Toumaz UK, which covers health technology and solutions, and Toumaz Microsystems. Toumaz Microsystems will focus on the design, development, and sale of semiconductor chips and solutions for the embedded wireless-connectivity market. Such solutions target home and enterprise automation, healthcare, smart power, security/monitoring systems, intelligent toys, and other connectivity-centric, cloud-enabled systems.

For its first venture, the subsidiary will focus on developing a new, multi-standard wireless connectivity chip. Both the ultra-low-power radio receiver and transmitter will incorporate the new IEEE 802.15.6 standard in addition to other relevant standards. The company believes that this will be one of the first chips to be based on this new standard. The chip will target body-area networks (BANs) and a range of low-power, domestic, consumer wireless-sensor applications.

The IEEE 802.15.6 standard targets BAN applications that involve wireless devices worn on or close to the body. Such devices range from sports and fitness monitors and wireless healthcare products to three-dimensional (3D) glasses and next-generation, wearable-computer input-gaming devices. Existing short-range wireless protocols, such as Bluetooth and ZigBee, consume power at a level that is considered too high for miniature wearable applications. In addition, they fail to provide the security and reliability needed for certain BAN applications, such as wireless medical monitors.

Going forward, Toumaz will own 75% of Toumaz Microsystems. The firm has already moved its silicon integrated-circuit (IC) design team and related assets to the new subsidiary. Imagination Technologies, which will own the other 25% of the business, will invest a combination of cash, certain licenses to its hardware and software technologies, and supportive engineering resources (see sidebar, "Company Profiles"). In addition, the following will be transferred to Toumaz Microsystems: Toumaz's Telran low-power-radio system-on-a-chip (SoC), Xenifthe multimedia and Internet connectivity chip, low-power-radio IP, and licenses of further IP.

Professor Chris Toumazou, CEO of Toumaz, will become the Chairman of Toumaz Microsystems (see photo). Toumazou notes, "Establishing Toumaz Microsystems is the next logical step for us, building a subsidiary for our radio-IC chip development with investment and support from a strategic partner, Imagination. The rest of the group, operating now as Toumaz Health Technologies, can then be focused on the applications for our technology in the healthcare and leisure arena. This brings clarity to the business and ensures our all-important silicon devices have a strong roadmap, are delivered in a more structured manner, and have the outlet and backing neededboth for our own healthcare business and also to exploit the huge global opportunities of connected devices."